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The year of the hurricane:

Samantha Perez's remarkable story of hope and strength

Itís been a year now, one year since Hurricane Katrina destroyed peopleís lives, dreams, and homes, including my home of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

Itís hard to believe that itís been a year. When I was younger, years seemed slower, steadier. Time stretched longer then. Time wasnít important. This year was different. It flew by, and unless I concentrate hard on remembering, itís all a blur in my head.

I remember distinct things: the bathroom mirror in the hotel in Bossier City, where I first evacuated; the smell of the dorm at LSMSA; the wonderful spaghetti I ate in Provencal; the FEMA camper where I lived for nine months. Those are the things that come to mind when I think of this past year, all distorted images stuck in some twisted kaleidoscope. The only time I can remember as vividly as ever is how it all started.

I recall leaving my St. Bernard early in the morning, before the sun had even started to rise. I remember that trip, the headlights, the tears. I remember the phone call when we learned that our home was gone, the feel of the hotel comforter beneath me, the cold touch of the travel camper. There are so many memories that will never disappear, but there are others that are already fading away. Sometimes, I forget how our house used to look, used to feel. Itís part of the past now, and there arenít many pictures left of how things once were. The reminders arenít photographs. Instead, the reminders of the past are the piles of debris that still, even now, line the streets and the gutted homes, shells of a life that once flourished here. Continue reading latest entry

Lost freedom on the 4th of July

Before ó before the hurricane ó things were different.

Everyone looked forward to July because it was so special to all of us. Almost every weekend during the summer, I would spend at the camp we had in the Violet Canal, but the Fourth of July was different. The water was different then. The water was alive that day. It was bright and it was smiling because my entire family and the people raised as my family were out on that water, cooking things on the grill and laughing. Click here to continue reading this entry.

Read the entire, heartbreaking Hurricane Journal

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